The Role of Macrophage Lineage Cells in Kidney Graft Rejection and Survival

AT Rowshani, Elly Vereyken

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40 Citations (Scopus)


Large numbers of macrophage lineage cells are present in transplants undergoing ischemia-reperfusion injury and rejection, and their presence correlates with a high probability of rejection. However, the extent to which monocytes and macrophages contribute to kidney graft rejection is poorly understood. The heterogeneity of the monocyte/macrophage lineage cells could be one of the reasons why these cells have been neglected up to now. Circulating monocytes can be divided into various subsets, which are able to give rise to tissue macrophages and dendritic cells. Macrophages are believed to be highly plastic cells that can respond to environmental signals by changing their phenotype and function. Macrophages have established roles in early and late kidney graft inflammation, tissue homeostasis, remodeling, and repair. In kidney transplantation, macrophages are believed to play a role in both damage and repair of the graft, depending on the type of macrophages involved, the environmental drive, and the time after transplantation. The heterogeneity and plasticity of monocytes and macrophages are obstacles to translating the functional relevance of this cell lineage to diagnostic and prognostic clinical parameters and to defining specific, macrophage-related, therapeutic targets. Recent evidence has indicated an immunomodulatory role for the so-called regulatory macrophages in induction of tolerance in kidney transplant recipients. In this article, we summarize current views on monocyte/macrophage immunobiology in kidney transplantation. Key issues for ongoing research are discussed.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)309-318
Number of pages10
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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  • EMC MM-04-39-05

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